CANADA The Canadian Nuclear Waste Agency said it was swindled...

The Canadian Nuclear Waste Agency said it was swindled out of $300,000 intended for native Ontario residents.

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According to the Canadian Nuclear Waste Agency, someone believed to be a cybercriminal posing as an Indigenous leader swindled the Nuclear Waste Management Organization into paying the individual nearly $300,000 meant to work for an Indigenous nation in Ontario. Most of the funds were returned and transferred to Chippewas of Saugin. (RedPixel/stock.adobe.com)

Canada’s nuclear waste agency says an alleged cybercriminal posing as an Indigenous leader managed to trick the organization into paying the man almost $300,000, money earmarked for the development of the Indigenous community in Ontario.

The funds were the second of two payments totaling $600,000 from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) to Saugin First Nations Chippewa, part of a controversial community development effort to find a site to house the $23 billion tomb. used nuclear fuel for thousands of years.

“Earlier this year, we became aware that we were the victim of fraudulent cyber activity when a payment was redirected from the intended recipient,” NWMO media relations manager Bruce Logan told CBC News via email.

“Fortunately, we were able to recover most of the funds. We have also transferred the entire amount to Chippewas of Saugin, the rightful recipient.”

Court documents answer questions the agency won’t answer

Logan said the NWMO has launched an internal investigation. He also reported the crime to the RCMP’s Canadian Fraud Center, but the Mounties are not investigating, he said.

Logan did not answer further questions.

The Saugin First Nation, an indigenous Ojibway nation along the Sogin River and the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, eventually became the “rightful recipient” of the money that was planned to be used to develop the community. (Google street view)

However, court documents filed by the NWMO’s lawyers in its efforts to find the missing money were obtained and examined by CBC News. They give some idea of ​​how the alleged scammer got away with some of the money.

According to an affidavit, on December 21, 2021, the agency received two emails from an email account purporting to be that of Saugin First Nation chief Lester Anokquott.

The first email contained instructions for making payments to an account with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) instead of the group’s regular account with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). The second email contained a copy of an invalid RBC check.

The scammer claimed to be the head of Saugeen

Then, according to court documents, a series of emails were exchanged between the person who called himself the boss and agency officials, trying to ascertain the legality of the sudden changes in payment instructions.

This bright yellow sign was erected by protesters in Teeswater, Ontario, a small farming town in the municipality of South Bruce, one of two locations where the NWMO is considering storing Canada’s stockpile of spent nuclear fuel. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

On December 29, 2021, SZMO made an electronic payment in good faith to the specified account. Court documents say it wasn’t until January 27, 2022, when the group’s council said the money had never arrived, that NWMO officials realized that an account purportedly belonging to the chief had been compromised.

The documents said that at that point, NWMO officials realized that they did not know the identity of the person who received the money, nor how much was spent.

According to the documents, the nuclear waste agency’s lawyers then applied for a Norwich Writ, a rare step in Canadian law that would force an innocent third party to turn over information to help prosecute.

A Toronto court imposed a restraining order on the account on March 9, 2022, court documents say. At that time, there was a balance of $228,465.07.

Anoquot declined to comment to CBC News on the matter, saying the group’s board is still trying to determine its next steps.

“We are still debating the way forward. [and] not yet ready to make history,” he wrote in an email.

Bank records included in court documents

But RBC records included in court documents indicate that the account in question belonged to Robert Soloman Grueger, who runs RSG Ventures, a company registered at a residence address in Burlington, Ontario.

The diagram shows what the $23 billion nuclear waste grave will look like when completed. The facility is designed to store over three million bundles of spent nuclear fuel for 100,000 years. (SZMO)

The home is a former duplex and is currently listed for sale on the province’s Multiple Listing Services website. Google Streetview images show the building is undergoing major renovations. Currently, no one lives in the hostel.

Bank records indicate that RSG Ventures’ physical address is a retail space in Oakville, Ontario. The mailing address is a mall in Mississauga, Ontario.

The bank records also showed a phone number for the company, but when CBC News called that number, Douglas Finch answered and said he had never heard of RSG Ventures or Robert Solomon Grueger.

Finch said he recently acquired the phone number as an executive line for his company, DraftCo, a draft beer monitoring service for bars and restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area.

“This is the business number I just dialed,” he said. “I only have a room for six weeks.”

As for Robert Solomon Grueger, CBC News checked his name against several databases, including bankruptcy, insolvency, and Ontario bail seeking, but found no match.

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